Battle Royal

"Let's go to the park!" both kids screamed at me in unison.

Does Dad want to go to the park? Hell freaking yeah he does. The park is where the kids play and I sit on the bench reading a book. The park is where we find worms and dare each other to eat them. The park is where we all grab sticks and take turns trying to poke eyes. I love the park and we need the park because we have been stuck in the house all winter.

Today is a good day. It's sunny and over 50. We are going to the park with a mother freaking vengeance.

We are lucky here, we have several parks to pick from. Do I go to the local neighborhood park? Sure, it's an easy drive but the slide sucks. It's not fast enough and Little Hoss likes to take risks.

We could go to the park by the school. It's a nice park, good equipment but most likely a squirrel will be hit by a car since it's a high traffic area. Then I have to go into the whole "it's only sleeping honey. No, we cannot touch it under any circumstances." And I would have to explain that the blood coming out of the mouth is fruit punch that he spilled. I'm not ready to have the death talk yet with the little ones. In fact, I probably never will. We will just ignore it. That's how you parent ladies and gentlemen.

But I did have the perfect park in mind. It's in a state park that is around here, only 15 minutes away and secluded. No one would be there. Unless maybe teenagers who are skipping school. And if they are, I will give them the dad glare and give them a lecture about throwing away your life on women and drugs. I might even take off my belt. And when they leave, and they will, I will give them my XBOX live gamer tag so that I can kick there ass later some more.

There were no teenagers there when we got there. No one was there. The sun was shining. It was perfect. The kids ditched me faster than my ex girlfriend for my roommate. I grabbed the paper, found a bench, and presented the Dad pose. Occasionally I would lift my eyes over the paper to make sure no one was being buried in the sandbox. We were good.

It didn't last long though because apparently a mom's group decided that this park was the place to be as well. Shortly, 6 of them showed up with all their kids in tow. ages 3 to 6 months.

Normally I'm great with this. I love busting in on a mom's group at the park. Sometimes they don't talk to me and I just smile. But sometimes they do when they realize that I am harmless. And when I tell them I'm a SAHD, they usually can't wait to invite me back home for lunch. I never take them up on it. I'm a married man. But it's good to be noticed for the sweet piece of man meat that I am.

I was hoping today though to have the park to myself. I wasn't feeling funny or charming. I was feeling gasy. But you deal with it so I put the paper down to show that I am friendly and receptive to being hit on. Or ignored as a possible pedophile. The ball is in their court.

Very soon after I put the paper down one of the kids comes up to Little Hoss and Bubba Hoss, who are playing in the sandbox. He looks about 3 or 4 but my daughter towers over him. She's a big girl. On the little growth chart she's "above 97%" in height, which is my way of bragging that she could kick your kids ass. Not that I encourage it, but she's big and oddly strong for someone who still only comes up to my overextended waist line.

They are playing fine at first but then little thug life takes a step back. Then he takes another one. Then he picks up a handful of sand and throws it at Little Hoss.

This is his first mistake.

As a parent, I don't rush into situations right away. I want my daughter to figure out how to deal with things on her own at first. I think this is good for her and bolsters her self confidence. She turns to the little boy and says "Don't throw sand. It's mean." She's very nice about it and I'm very proud of her. Sure, she could have pulled a Hulk Hogan off the top rope but she didn't. She asked him nicely to stop.

The kid throws another handful of sand at her. This is his second mistake.

I start heading over now but my daughter says "Please stop throwing sand. I don't want to throw sand." At this point, I am an extremely proud father. Look at my mature little girl not mashing this little pecker's face into the ground. I am a good father. I am the best father. No wonder moms try and pick me up.

The kid apparently is thick in the head though and doesn't listen. And this is when he makes his third and final mistake. He picks up another handful of sand but this time he throws it at Bubba Hoss. This kid is dead meat. I know it. Little Hoss knows it. The kid should know it.

I see Little Hoss take two steps forward and I actually see her make a fist. She's going to pop him. I have no doubt about it. It's one thing pushing Little Hoss. It's quite another thing intentionally hurting a member of her family. When my wife went into contractions she got an IV and was moaning. Little Hoss thought that the nurse was hurting her so she actually starting hitting the nurse in her butt. I had to pull my little tiger off her. She's going to make that look like a walk in the park compared to the ass whipping she is about to hand off to this little boy.

I'm running now, trying to get there before Little Hoss rearranges his juicebox face. Fighting is never the answer. However, some people are just asking for it. It's true when you are 20 and it's true when you are 4. But I can't let this happen. This kid is about to lose his baby teeth a little early. Don't pick on HER little brother. If she is protective over Hossmom, then she is uber protective over her little brother.

The other kids mom is there right before I am and starts tearing into kid thug life. She saw what happened (and probably what was going to happen) and also decided it was time to intervene. I take Little Hoss aside and she tells me that that mean boy threw dirt at Bubba Hoss. I tell her that I know and that he's getting in trouble. I also tell her it's a good thing to watch out for you little brother. I am still the proud father.

The other little kid decides that he doesn't want to listen to his mother so he takes off. She is carrying a 6 month old and takes off after him. There's a part of me that wants to offer to let Little Hoss track his little butt down but I don't. Mainly because she would drag him back by his hair and I really don't want to see that.

So Little Hoss and I watch as mom runs around the swings, through the sandbox again, over to the monkey bars and eventually over the path on the hill. I can hear mom threatening the whole way. They are going home, no more TV, etc etc. I feel bad for her. I can't even imagine Little Hoss doing that do me. We've had our problems, no doubt, but she stops when I say stop. Again, I am a proud father.

I tell Little Hoss it's time to go. She says ok and she's calmed down now. Eventually mom catches her kid and he has gone limp as she drags him on the ground. They get back to the playground area and she talks to him and then let's him go back to playing. I know he's only three, but as the other parent in this situation, I feel a little bit gipped. After all, he did throw sand at my daughter. A time out would be nice. But kids will be kids I suppose and we head back into the car.

Besides, I'm a big believer in Karma. We were at a secluded park today for one very specific reason. To avoid people. Why? Because we have been rocking the pink eye for a good 2 days and I didn't want to give it to anyone else. Thug life had been playing with my children for a good 10 minutes before his little outburst. I'm guessing that was enough time to pass along some contagious justice. I will never tell Little Hoss this of course. But secretly, I'm at peace and still a very proud father.


The Political Debate, Part 2

My brother in law is somewhat of a hippie. He's not full bore mind you. He doesn't own a 1969 VW van and follow around Phish. He doesn't have long Willie Nelson hair that is tied back by a bandanna that smells like weed. But he does have a compost heap and he eats bean sprouts. He once showed me the plans on how to make bio-diesel fuel and told me how much the oil companies are screwing the American working man.

He eats a lot of vegetables too although he does love the red meat. Organic of course. And for one glorious summer in college we shared one giant bed. I know how this sounds but it's not what you think. I had pushed two twin beds together to make one giant bed. Halfway through the semester he moved in. Instead of actually taking the 10 minutes to separate the beds back, we said screw it and just slept side by side for 2 months. Laziness, which I submit to you, is a sign of a liberal hippie. He obviously felt entitled to the bed but didn't want to put the work into separating them.

This was the guy that I was waiting to post something about the health care debate. This is where I knew I would find many liberal responses and personalities so that I could complete my experiment and prove my hypothesis. My hypothesis being "People think that squirrels on skies are funny and that in a political debate someone will be called an unpatriotic goat rapist without any supporting documentation, supporting facts or alleged goat."

I was counting on him posting something the night of the vote but he didn't. Again, liberal laziness. I imagine that most liberals were waiting for someone else to post. I would then enter the debate on the conservative side, thus busting up the little hippie commune that I would find there. By the end of it, someone was sure to call me a heartless Nazi.

I had done the same thing the night before but with the conservative side. I argued the liberal side in a pack of ravenous conservatives. I expected to be eaten up, slapped around, maybe given a cigar and some money, and then booted. That was the theory but it was not the reality. Stupid Republicans were nice about it with good arguments. We call that an "aberration" in statistical research, which this is not. So we are going to throw out those results in my study as not being the "norm". The norm is defined by what I think it should be and not what my data shows.

Seriously, I think I would love being a researcher after this stay at home dad thing doesn't work out and my kids are sucking on the public teet.

The Liberals have an agenda. Everyone knows that. It's talked about all the time by the liberal media. It's a nice agenda that has bullet points, a nice looking border and is printed on biodegradable paper. At the top is a picture of Hello Kitty because that's just cute. 10 years ago that agenda was thrown to shit by an inconvenient truth. The truth of course being that Al Gore lost the election. For the next 8 years Liberals were subjected to the ruthlessness of Dos Bush--that Bush the second for my non Spanish speaking friends. For those 8 years the agenda laid dormant like Lord Voldermort living off the blood of unicorns.

But then Bush fucked it up. He became unpopular and Hope and Change rolled into town. Now the Liberal Agenda was back on track baby. It got dusted off, updated a bit, and then put right back into play: on the floor of the House of Representatives. There's a saying in video game land. "First you beat them, then you embarrass them." It's really the American way.

And that's what happened here. So now it was time for the Liberals to come out and gloat. THAT is the American way. Watching online news chat rooms, that was exactly what was happening. And it is what I expected to see when The Hippie finally posted his thoughts on the bill the next morning. About time to. I have a limited attention span and I was running out of YouTube videos to watch while I waited.

He did post and I was a bit surprised. I was surprised because first off it didn't smell like pot. After that I was surprised because there was no gloating, there was telling no one to suck it and take it, there was not even accusing anyone of bombing a country without reason. In fact, it was well written and even broken down into easily defined points of argument.

Ya know, in last nights "aberration" I ran into the same thing on the other side. A calm argument. I came to the conclusion that the reason for this was because the first poster was calm. I was going to fuck that up tonight. I was going to piss someone off.

I threw out my first debating point almost immediately. I was passionate in my response, hoping to show that that I was spoiling for a fight. I even threw out the word "outrage" thus provoking an emotional response from the very next poster. That was my hope.

Unfortunately, it was The Hippie that responded next and that little bean sprout eating fucker didn't take the bait. He didn't take it like the big mouth bass that I thought he was. Instead, he just turned around my own statement and put it back on me.

This was not going well. So I bent the rules a little bit. I bent them because I had to. And I had to because so far my hypothesis was taking a beating. I bent them because there are no real rules in this thing as I am completely making them up as I go along. I called the Hippie on the phone.

I very kindly, and with much feeling, told him that he could not longer post on his own thread. That to do so with his reason and patience was jacking up my blog. I reminded him that I had married his sister. Does he want to see his sister unhappy?

Now with that taken care of, I was ready to continue my little dialogue with any and every liberal flower child that came around. And they did come around as I knew they would. A lone conservative draws a crowd of ravenous liberals like a pack of wolves to a wounded baby kitten and I was meowing loudly. Oh yea baby, I was a little wounded kitten here with a bleeding leg. Be nice if I had some health care but it turns out I'm a lazy kitten. Come get some.

But they didn't. In fact, the first post after mine and after I banned the Hippie from his own thread was a guy agreeing with me, another fellow conservative. Get out of here, this is a one man show. The next post was someone talking about empathy. Empathy! Are you kidding me! Empathy! You just whipped some conservative ass and now you are talking to me about having some empathy for others like you having empathy for me? No, no no no no!

I kept going using all the conservative arguments. Big government, higher taxes, entitlements, state rights. Some of the stuff that I said wasn't even my own. I quoted Papa Scrum almost verbatim on one answer. They weren't biting. They weren't getting pissed. They weren't shouting or typing in ALL CAPS. There wasn't even an exclamation point used. It was turning into another reasoned debate, a calm exchange of ideas and an easy dissection of each point. My hypothesis was getting screwed. So I did the only thing I could do. The only thing that I thought would really send them over the edge.

I questioned their morals. That's right, morals you liberal pansies. I am basically questioning your commitment to this country, this ideal and to your own fellow man. It was meant to be a jab right to the solar plexus. Basically, I said that if it such a "moral" question then everyone should pay for it, not just one section of the population.

If there was a field, I would be standing in the middle of it with a smile on my face. My hands would be stretched out and my head would be tilted back soaking up the glorious sun as I prepared for the onslaught that would surely come. My shirt would be off and my rippling muscles would be covered in the sweat of the righteous.

But there was no field and there was no onslaught. There was agreement.


There was actually agreement in a political debate where the two sides believed vastly different things. How could this happen? I don't understand. I don't get it. These are the same people that gave us the term "hanging chad." People who couldn't even punch a hole through paper just undercut my entire hypothesis.

They were my last hope after that fiasco with the conservatives the night before. And they didn't do it. They didn't rise up and spit on me, or call me names, or threaten my profession. They agreed with a point that I had made.

Through two debates I had attained friendship and agreement in an arena where this shouldn't have been possible. It never is. Ever. And yet, it did. Imagine a single tear falling down my cheek, as I am sure it is falling down yours.

My hypothesis is wrong. I have to admit it now, there is no other conclusion to be drawn from this experience. It needs to be amended. Perhaps there is room for a friendly debate that will not sink to a level that embarrasses us all and embarrasses the ones that came before us. It may be some small room tucked away by the kitchen with no windows but it is there.

I have thought long and hard on this experience and have tried to determine why there was such a gap on what I read in the chat rooms vs. what I had seen on facebook. From what I see on the evening news and what I hear being yelled from mobs. It may be the anonymity that is the culprit but I don't think it's the only reason. After all, almost all the participants in the facebook debate had no idea who I was or what I believed really. They only knew what I wrote. And yet they never went to far or took any of the easy opportunities to debase me or my ideas. So I don't know, maybe you do.

But after listening to this debate from both sides, and taking the arguments on both sides seriously, I do feel that there are some things that I want to point out. No matter what issue we Americans find ourselves faceing, it needs to be debated. It's how we debate that truly matters, not the issue in which we debate. Today it was healthcare, tomorrow it may illegal immigration or social security or abortion. And as we get to those issues (and we will), there are some things that we must keep in mind.

Whatever derogatory things are being said by the side you disagree with, were once said by your own party at one time or another. Think about it and you'll see that it's a universal truth. Those things have no place in a debate that concerns the very future of our country. I have used a lot of tongue and cheek in these blogs to prove that point and I hope most of you were able to pick up on it.

After the passage of the health care bill there has still been alot of passion and debate. There has been violence directed towards both parties, don't deny it and don't just brush it off. It's true on both sides. Again, intimidation and bulling has no place in a debate. This is not an "us" Vs. "them" country and it never was meant to be.

And finally, and now I'll get off my soap box, in most debates both sides usually have valid concerns and good points. It is our duty to recognize that and decide for ourselves if we agree with them or not. You don't have to agree with them but it is your responsibility to decide for yourself if you do or not. If you let someone else tell you what to think then you have failed to truly give any significant issue facing our country any true consideration. Extremists on both sides will spill forth passionate arguments complete with inflammatory statements. If that is your only source of "facts" then you are bound to never make an informed decision.

At the end of this I realize that there is a glaring hole in these two blogs and I plan to fill it now. How do I feel? What is my true thoughts? There has been a lot of debate and a lot of talk. I can honestly say that I have listened intently to the pros and cons, from liberals and from conservatives and from those who just aren't sure. I have studied and looked at all the possible consequences, the ones that are known anyway. I have even stepped into opposing roles and it has helped me understand this issue more than I thought I would.

I feel pretty confident in my decision:

Squirrels on water skies are very, very funny.



What follows is a two part piece that I normally wouldn't write. I wouldn't write it because I don't like debating and I don't particularly care for politics. But this was a little experiment that I thought was worthwhile. The other part of this post will be up Friday and I hope you'll join me then as well to wrap this thing up.

And also, I want to thank both Hossmom and Papa Scrum as my "debate coaches." Hossmom loves to debate, sometimes lives for it. She takes the philosophy that the debate isn't over until you are sitting in the corner crying. Seriously, she is relentless. Her whole family does this. They will sit around and talk for hours and hours while I walk away to go watch some Star Trek.

Papa Scrum has a knack of explaining points of view in a way that you can easily understand and digest it. He is patient with questions, detailed with answers and never talks down to you. They both helped a lot during the process of this two part blog and deserve my thanks.


The Political Debate, Part 1

I have a two part theory: 1. Squirrels on water skies are funny. Especially if you put them in little tiny bikinis. Demeaning? Sure, but still funny as hell. 2. The political debate process is broken. Severely. Every political debate quickly looses any validity and the issues are forgotten, factoids are thrown about and eventually, no matter what side you are on, you are labeled a traitor whose sole intent is to destroy American and eat babies covered in honey barbecue sauce because that stuff is freaking good.

Papa Scrum and I talk about this. He is more hopeful than I am and also doesn't think that squirrels on skies are funny. But he concedes the point: politics in this country is brutal. Rarely is any truth really thrown out there. It's the politics of fear--believe what I believe or you will be the entire reason that this country is destroyed. Blah, blah, blah, tip the river man on your way to hell.

I wanted to further illustrate this point, a rare political commentary from Hossman. But I needed an issue. Something hot with lots of controversy.

Hello healthcare, come over and sit in Santa Hoss's lap. Tell me what you want for Christmas. What's that? A completely unscientific scientific study into the debate process and the breakdown of civility. Why sure, I think we can make that happen.

Here is my hypothesis: People think that squirrels on skies are funny and that in a political debate someone will be called an unpatriotic goat rapist without any supporting documentation, supporting facts or alleged goat.

Method: There is no method. No statistics will be tallied, no journals kept and no questionnaires will be filled out. In fact, there will be no way to replicate my results what so ever. I will attempt to step into the debate on health care and argue both the liberal and conservative sides in an attempt to be called either a baby killing god hating anti-Christ or a war mongering free enterprise anarchist. It will be completely based on my observations and since I am a handsome and trustworthy dude, my results should be taken as fact, which they are. Sort of. Not really. The purpose of this study is so that I can blog about it and not about my children who are on a very short leash with me as Hossmom has been out on a business trip for several days and the minions are starting to question my authority. Now, let's proceed with the study. To the Internet Robin!

Ah, the Internet, guaranteed to provide you with proof ow anything you want. UFO's, Bigfoot, and in my case--the lack of reasoned debate in American politics. I began by hitting every news site message boards that had anything to do with health care. I read them all. CNBC, Fox and some guy doing a show from his basement. I wanted the people's voice to be heard. I wanted to read what actual Americans were saying, not what political pundits were saying. I wanted to see Joe Six pack in front of his computer ranting.

Let's highlight what I found:
**A school teacher was the subject of an online petition to get him fired because he disagreed with a poster. That's what I'm talking about!

**The word "ignorant" and "Stupid" were used so many times that I lost count. Mainly because I didn't keep count. I do believe I said in my method that I would be doing no statistical analysis.

**"Nazi" was thrown in there to quite a few times because you just can't have a political debate without the word Nazi.

**Of course God made an appearance. He always makes an appearance in American political discussion, he's very fashionable as an A lister. He gets invited to the best parties. And as near as I can figure out, based on what I read, he simultaneously believes that everyone is wrong and everyone is right at the same time.

**Revolution! Revolution!! My brother Revolution showed up in a lot of posts. Send out good old Paul with his lantern, it's time to start a revolution. Pick up your guns and put grandma in the storm cellar! My good friend Revolution, I haven't seen you since Crawford.

**But there was also a lot of compassion as well, as in "I'm sorry you are so stupid" and "I'm sorry you are a douche." My personal favorite "You'll be sorry." It appears that your best debate skills are learned in Jr. High.

I love the Internet, I just love it. It doesn't matter which party people belonged to or what they thought about the health care debate, that's what they wrote. Republican, Democrat, Independents. Thus proving my point on a grand scale. Political debating follows the rules of Thunderdome. 2 walk in, 1 walk out. I couldn't wait to call Papa Scrum.

But I also wanted a more personal experience, per my method as stated before. I needed a cleaner statistical sample (that I would not be tabulating). Something that I could follow from the start, participate in, and then get called either a Liberal Fuckwad or a Conservative Twatwaffle. Then my point would really be made. I would declared a genius with unusual insight into society and quite possibly Ms. America would send me dirty pictures.

So I waited until it was confirmed that the house bill was passed on health care. I jumped on facebook faster than a fat man on a free buffet.

Nothing. Nada. Shit.

What the hell man? I have work to do here. I'm trying to prove a random point so I can write about it. Somebody write something. This is historic. Somebody's pissed, somebody's gloating so somebody say something about it. It's late and I've got to get up and work tomorrow morning. Wait, no I don't. I'm a stay at home dad.

Tired of waiting I mailed a little note to Mr. Texas, one of the most conservative guys that I know. When he posts something on politics he gets a lot of responses. He's the one I really wanted to post something. That would give me my ball field to play in. I suggested to Mr. Texas, gently, WTF? They passed the bill. Are you going to take that? Post something for Christ's sake! Finally he did. It's go time boys. Grab your jock straps and wave to your girlfriend in the stands, let's get it on.

Except that what he posted was calm. It was well though out and made a good point.

God dammit.

You know a Representative called another House member a "baby killer" during the debate, right? Actually on the House floor. You would think that I could get at least that amount of corporation in my little study here, but noooooooooooooooo. What I got was a reasoned response.

So I joined his thread. "I approve of this bill!" Stick that in your pipe and smoke it America.

By this time a lot more conservative posters starting popping up through out my facebook page in different threads. So I went to each of them and did the same thing. I was going to get my debate tonight one way or another. I was making comments on everyone's status updates. My family, my wife's family, extended family, people who I haven't seen in 25 years, Mafia Wars facebook friends. Everyone. I think I even made a liberal comment on a guy's post that was talking about March Madness and not the health care bill. I had to go back and apologize.

But I wanted Mr. Texas' thread. And when I checked back, the comments were coming in. And boom, there was another liberal there too! Jackpot. If one Liberal pisses off Conservatives then two ought to make them go apeshit. Oh yes, someone would be accusing me of being a member of Al Queda by the end of the night. They are ripe. They want vengeance. They want to vent. They want to start name calling. Come to the dark side, embrace your hatred.

But they didn't. It was, dare I say, even respectful. Again, God dammit. So I got more active.

I had studied the bill and the possible debating questions for 3 days. The taxes of it, big government, state's rights vs. Federal rights, 10th amendment violations, Supreme Court rulings and even the stupid Auto insurance argument. I had it all right in front of me. I came to play. Name an argument either liberal or conservative and I could tell you the counter argument. So I started posting, I started throwing out talking points, I threw out everything I had. Nothing. I got nothing back. No name calling, no hatred, no calls for insurrection, not even a goat rapist accusation. What is wrong with these people. They were talking about taxes and expressing concerns about quality of care. They were reasonably explaining the increased government intrusion into our lives and the lack of personal responsibility. All valid points, all valid concerns. There wasn't even a random factoid like "98% of liberals are Satan Worshipers and love to hit the ganja." I just made that up. See how easy that was? But every different post I went to showed a calm debate without anything that I expected to find. Good reasoning, even passionate reasoning, but nothing out of line and no name calling. They were good arguments, plain and simple.

What do I have to do here? Do I have to scream I love abortions? Fucking Republicans, can't count on them to find weapons of mass destruction and can't count on them to cooperate in my little study and act like I thought they would. And the worst part, beside the reasoned debate that was screwing up my hypothesis, is that I gained 4 facebook friends in a debate where we were arguing ideologically different points of view. One person even found out that she knew my cousin. Fantastic. Finally I got fed up and begged, actually asked that someone call me a name. Someone did but he was joking and friendly. Well, that was just a slap in the face. And that's the worst insult I got all night. That was it. Will you be my friend.

But Liberals, you can count on those whack jobs. Oh yes, those hippie pot smokers that love to give my money away, you can count on them. But not tonight, apparently because none of them posted. Probably at a drum circle celebrating with mother earth and humanity. But they did post the next day and I was all over that.

To be continued on Friday. ........................



I have a friend getting married this week. Which means that I will have to wear a tie for the first time in 2 years. I will have to find my good shoes, slacks and a shirt. I will have to find all the things that I haven't worn since I worked last. As a stay at home dad we don't get the opportunity to wear the fancy clothes that much. And even though I tried to convince Hossmom that showing up in shorts and a John Deere hat would be just fine, she wasn't having it. She makes me look good.

My friend asked me a question the last time I saw him. He asked me if I had any advice for him on how to make it work, what words of wisdom could I give a newly married man as he starts a new chapter in his life. I don't consider myself any kind of relationship expert but my wife and I do have a very strong marriage. At least while I'm here. When I'm away I hear that her and our postman are equally as strong. Nuk, Nuk, Nuk. But we have been together for 15 years and things are moving right along.

So I'm going to help my buddy out. I'm going to tell him the things that are guarnteed to make it work. I've been there, I've walked down that road. I've made the mistakes and I've had the triumphs. Maybe I can pass along a little wisdom.

First off, show your wife that you appreciate her. After coitious, espeically on the wedding night, give her a high five. Women love the high five and nothing says good job like the hand slap and perhaps even a bro hug, maybe even a pat on the butt. She'll know that you appreciate her efforts. You both just scored and what is better than a high five after a game winning touchdown? But don't stop there, there's much more required in a marriage.

It's a proven fact that women like to feel needed. Whenever you get the chance, throw your towel on the floor. And if you are an advanced husband like me, you can make it land right next to your socks. Your wife will come around later and have to pick up the towel (because it will bug her to much to just leave it there.) And this is what she'll think "He needs me like he needed his mommy. And man oh man do I love a mamma's boy."

Now if you are doing those first two right, eventually you will find yourself with a pregnant wife. This can be kind of tricky but I'll walk you through it. Honesty is the best policy of any good relationship. And if you can't be honest when she needs you most, can you be honest at all? So when she's hanging over the toilet puking her guts out, calmly suggest that she go puke outside because she sounds like a dead horse and it's keeping you up. She'll understand, trust me. And if she throws a high heeled shoe at your head, it just means that she really, really, really understands. And you can do even more during this time.

When she's giving birth make sure you scream at her during delivery. Afterall, you are the coach in this situation and therefore one of the most important members on the team. So dig back to your glory days and scream at her like your coach screamed at you. Call her a pussy, question whether or not she has the desire to be a champion. Give her the "It's 4th and 2! What are you going to do!" She'll love you for it. When the kid is born, don't lose your head in joy either. Your job is not done. Openly question whether this kid is even yours. This shows her that you are concerned about reproductive rights, a very feminist topic, and will only make her respect you more.

Now we need to talk about fiscal responsiblity. Money issues are one of the number 1 things that couples fight about. So make sure that you never include her in any of the money making decisions what so ever. That's just asking for a fight and why would you ever want to do that? And no matter how much money she makes, be sure to put her on an allowance because women also like being told what they can accomplish in a man's world. She'll need the structure and the limitations if she is going to have any sense of self worth. Now she'll want to spend that 5 bucks a week that she gets from you, and that's fine. But you need to limit the amount of time she goes outside in that strange world were other dudes other than you will check out her boobies. So lock her up tight. This will make her feel safe and secure.

But above all, remember this: Love is simple. It's not complicated, it's not hard. One day you will realize that your happiness is tied directly to her happiness. So when she smiles, you are happy. And when she cries, you want to go find the person that made her cry and beat the ever loving crap out of him. You'll understand that she comes first in your life, that no one matters to you as much as she does. And that being the case you will soon figure out that your whole job in this world is do whatever it takes to make her happy, whatever that may be. Because when she is happy, you are happy. So sometimes that means putting down the toilet seat. Sometimes it means letting it go when you find she has thrown away your favorite Tshirt. Sometimes it means going to see a movie with Hugh Grant and a random chick and someone is going to get married. You'll understand that everything else in life is pretty much just fluff and what matters is whats in the center. Protect that center with everything you got. And if you do it right and are lucky, you'll find that someone that believes the exact same thing about you.

And in the end, if you follow my advice, you'll be getting high fives for many, many years.

Congrats Scooter and I wish you and yours the very best.



March Madness: one of the single greatest sporting events known to man. The last second shots, the heros made in less than .9 seconds, the all out hustle. There is nothing not to be loved about it. Except when you fill out your brackets for a friendly competition and it turns out that you are dumber than a rock, that all the teams you pick suck massive balls and only you didn't know it, and where heartbreak is because of that last second shot made by the hero with only .9 seconds left.

I imigine that this morning there are a lot of people out there that choose poorly. They probably work for the goverment and were involved in the bailout. How do I know? Because I worked for the goverment for 10 years and as of this morning, my brackets are shit. Serioulsy, do you want those kind of people running things?

But there might be others out there this morning that didn't work for the goverment and who are hurting. Who couldn't sleep because they were sure that that number 12 seed was going to shock the world and make it to the final four only to find out that they were a 12 seed for a reason. I feel your pain. I hurt to. My insides are ripped up from that first day of the tournement. Maybe it's because I have no shot at winning in my brackets or maybe it is the coupious amounts of salsa. I don't know. I just know I hurt.

I can deal with hurt though. I can get past it. And I can help you get past it. Listen to Hossman my fellow fallen brothers. Reach out your arms and embrace my advice. It's a long way until the end of the tournement and your pain is only going to get worse as it goes on. Because the mistake you made on the first day, that's going to haunt you for the next several weeks.

1. It makes a big difference if you cheer loudly at the TV screen when a team that you picked is losing. "But they can't hear you, you moron!" my wife would say. But she doesn't know the power of the secret, the power of positive thinking. If you would have cheered your balls off and not gotten drunk instead, your team would have won. Don't make that mistake again! Cheer, Cheer! Cheer!

2. If cheering does fail, then Drink! Drink! Drink! Alcoholics are on to something when it comes to numbing the pain.

3. When your team does lose, and they will because you suck as much as I do, immediatly abandon them. Be a fair weather fan, it makes it easier to survive. You'll have people judge you but there judgement is a lot easier to bear than that growing pain in the pit of your stomach. It may be cancer, sure, but more than likely its your manhood trying to squeeze out of you.

4. Hold someone's hand because holding hands feels good. If you are at a bar and things are going bad, turn to the dude next to you. Pick up his hand and look him in the eye. It doesn't have to be a gay thing, he will understand.

5. It's always the refs fault, or the conference, or the unfair matchup and seed. It's never your fault for beliving in a tiny mircle that a 16 seed could finally upset a number one. Hope is never a bad thing my friends. Betting on a long shot however is. Just blame someone else rather than yourself, it's the American way.

6. If you haven't tried crack yet, now may be the time to start.

7. You must have the deep seeded belief that if you were playing in that game, if someone had given you the rock for a last second shot, that you would have made it. You would have done a fade away jumper with your tounge out while getting phone numbers from the ladies at the exact same time. You are always better than those losers, believe it.

8. How many times did you go to the bathroom during the game? If only once, you are still good. If twice, well maybe you need to man up a little bit and cheer a little louder. Three times and I am starting to question your manhood. 4 or more and you might as well put on that pink tutu and give me a plie and set up in a quatrieme. And oh yes, those are real ballet terms. I googled it. But you would probably already know them if your bladder is the size of a 2 year old.

9. Realize early on that God hates you, he hates you so much. He's hated you since the day he thought about giving you a soul. He looked at his work and said "Shit, that's messed up. As punishment, I will make it so that he can never pick a bracket, ever." Just accept the fact and move on with your life. Show the man upstairs that you are a determined loser who will enter a bracket for the last 20 years of your life and yet always picked losers. And you'll do it again next year. Spite and bitterness, a losers best friend.

10. No matter what you do for the rest of the tournement, do one thing: Hate the University of Texas as the no good lazy sons of bitches that they are. Curse thier name and everything that they stand for. Ask yourself over and over how they could lose a fucking game when they are up by 4 with 13 seconds left and fucking choke like a bunch of fucking dipshits. Make vodoo dolls of all the players and jab them in the knees while screaming at them "You twat waffle douchebags! How could you fucking blow that fucking game! I had you in my final four! You were my homer pick! I believed in you! I thought you would upset everyone and be the team that no one thought would make it but you did! Well ain't I the dipshit for believing in my home state you bunch of fucking mamma's boys!" Take a crap on the team photo and then write a letter to the University ask how, oh how, could they blow it at the end when the game was theirs! Perhaps you picked them because you no longer live in Texas but like to brag about Texas and surely Texas would back you up. But reasons don't matter. Just curse them like the dogs that they are.

Then write a blog about it. It will make you feel better as the rest of your bracket turns to shit.


Easy Cheesy

I was once being chased up three flights of stairs by a perp. That's investigator lingo for perpetrator. That's my shot to impress you, to show you how bad ass I am. Anyway, he was chasing me and he had pretty bad intentions, as most people do that are carrying a big stick. I believe the words "pound your head flat" may have come into play sometime during our previous conversation, right before the running took place. But I was a smart guy and a little bit younger. And he was not young nor was he in the best of health. So when it came time to "get to skipping", as another perp once told me, I decided that my best course of action was to head up some stairs and pray for a heart attack. See that? I was keeping my head during a stressful situation. I could do that. I was great at that. I was the fucking master of it.

Then I had kids.

So let me ask you: How could I, who has had several guns pulled on him, who could handle any situation, get his ass handed to him by a 2 year old and a 4 year old. Seriously, I want an answer. I can't figure it. I have no idea. I once walked into a crack den, had dealers and users fleeing by jumping over fences, and felt completely calm and in control.

But now that I have kids, I find that regularly I am not calm and the only control I have, well, I don't have any control anymore. Maybe that's why I'm getting smacked around like crack whore.

Sometimes I think back to my working life, the glorified social worker with a little bit of power investigating abuse cases against the elderly. Then I compare to where I am at now. It's a huge change. Like the change you get when your 4 year old won't stop saying damit. I curse myself for that one. It's all me. No use to denying it, that one was my fault. But in my defense the REF MISSED THE CALL DAMIT! Surely you understand.

Hossmom came home from work tonight to find me splayed out on the couch. My eyes were vacant. I had spittle coming down the corner of my mouth. My foot was twitching a little bit.

"You have a hard day" she asked gingerly as if by saying it would remind me of it and cause me to go completely nuts.

"Nope, great day. Kids were great. Everyone is great. Great, great, diddly do dah great." I lied. I always lie about this. I don't want her to think that I ever need a helping hand. I don't know why but I do.

"Right. Where are the kids."

"Over there somewhere. Maybe tied up in the backyard. I'm not really sure."

"OK then."

The one thing I love about Hossmom is that she knows when not to push it. And today was one of those days. As a SAHD, as any parent I suppose, you are going to have some very tough days. And sometimes, you don't know why they were tough but they are.

Today was National Whine My Ass off day. It's a national holiday where all toddlers get together and coordinate their little Mickey Mouse watches. And at the appointed time, in unison, they all decided to whine and throw a crap fit about the dumbest stuff. It's not actually about anything in particular, that's not the point. The point is to drive Dad bat shit crazy so that he starts hitting the bottle, is passed out by 4. Why 4? Because that's when Dora comes on and they really want to watch some Dora. Then they get on Twitter and joke about it. They are very social media conscious.

"Bubba Hoss is in my chair!" she yelled. He had been sitting there for a good 20 minutes but she waited until 4 o'clock to piss and moan about it.

"Little Hoss hit me." my son told me soon afterwards. The non parent part of me wants to give a different answer than the one I am forced to give as a parent. The non parent wants to say "Well, don't take that. Go in there and kick her ass." But that wouldn't work, that's not a good parent thing to say. Besides, I'm pretty sure the little guy would get a beat down from his sister. No, the good parent goes in there and gets the whole story and pretty soon you are so tired of the lying and half truth's from all of them that you make everyone go into time out. So now no one's happy, including you because they are screaming at the top of their lungs and all you really want to do is sit down for 10 minutes uninterrupted and fill out your brackets. It is March Madness season after all.

Later you'll realize that you don't hear any screaming at all and you become concerned. You were so involved in setting up your brackets right that you left your eyes off them for 5 minutes and now the deathly quiet has you very worried. You'll stroll into the room and find that your oldest has discovered the cookie stash and is handing them to her brother. But they are not eating them, only taking the tops off to lick out the cream in the middle while they both chunk the leftovers at the TV and laugh as the dogs go after them. Oh yeah, they are having a great freaking fracking time. So it's back to timeout, but the time out is delayed.

It's delayed because Bubba Hoss had dropped a deuce in his drawers and he feels 10 pounds heavier. So you have to change it but are being crowded out by the 4 year old because she wants to see the big poop. And it is a monster of a dump. If there were awards for dump taking, he would win it in the 2 year old category. Or at least an honorable mention. It's a nice mixture between hard clump and easy wall smear so you have to use roughly 20,000 wipes to get it all. And the 4 year old has decided that she can't see well enough so she starts scaling the side of the changing table like a god damn sherpa. Then she gets kicked in the face by the 2 year old who loves to give me trouble sometimes when I'm putting a diaper on him.

She goes down with a thud and starts crying. You move away to pick her up and make sure there's no blood. The 2 year old hears the crying and wants to see what's going on. So he stands up on the changing table with a diaper half hanging and his pecker sticking out. You rush over so he doesn't fall or piss on the floor and now your 4 year old daughter feels abandoned. So you pick up the 2 year old, put him on your hip, pick up your 4 year old and put her on your other hip and then just kind of walk mindlessly around the house because although you haven't forgotten about the original timeouts, they have and it now it just seems mean. She did take one to the face.

That's when you wife calls and tells you she is going to be late.

Eventually you end up twitching on the couch.

I had a client once that was determined to shoot her husband. The only problem was that she was blind so I'm guessing was not a good shot. Anyone want to take a guess who walked into the room to calm things down?

How is that easier than this?


The Potato Chips

I'm thinking about eating all the potato chips. There will be consequences. I don't think I care. And to say there will be consequences is like saying the melting polar icecaps is a consequence of global warming. The eating of the last of the potato chips will be on that level, global. It's still worth it, even if I doom you all.

You see, these are the good potato chips. They are name brand. They are packed with so much artery clogging goodness that I ask you, could you stay away? They are not the normal potato chips that I buy from the store. As a smart shopper on a budget, I don't buy the name brand chips because my children secretly feed all the chips to the dogs and if they dogs are going to eat chips, then they get the Shasta brand. Secondly, the kids can't truly appreciate name brand chips. Their taste buds cannot truly grasp the awesomeness of good chips. Their philosophy is that a cheesy poof is still a cheesy poof by any other name. They have no idea. Finally, I'm just plain offended that a bag of potato chips costs 4 bucks. Are you fucking kidding me? For fried potatoes? Sweet, delicious, slightly salty fried potatoes?

But Hossmom insisted that for our bratwurst dinner this week that we get the good potato chips. So I did and I warned her: these might not make it to the end of the week. Friday is what I call my bullshit dinner day. I don't usually feel like cooking on Fridays so we have something easy and quick. This week it was Brats and potato chips. Now it's Thursday and the bag is still here, but just barely.

Now if I eat them, as I intend to do, I going to catch massive shit for it. She'll tell me that those are "her" potato chips. But, according to some, I'm a socialist liberal pig so in my view, they are everyone's potato chips. They belong to the people! The eaters of potato chips can only eat them by the will of the people! I am the people and I will that I eat them!

Then she'll say that she bought them with her money, that she worked hard and paid for them. Well, let's really look at that statement. Hossmom went to work, worked very hard (no doubts there) and then got paid for the work she completed. Then that money went into an account. From there, I took the money out of the account, went to the grocery store and bought the chips. By that reasoning, I am the one that actually bought and paid for the chips in all physical sense. I did the hard work of going to the store and making the hard decision: just plain or should I get sour cream? How about secret option C: plain with french onion dip!

I should be a god damn politician.

But Hossmom will then pull out the big guns. She will say that I promised. Ouch. It's hard to get out of a promise, especially to your wife. The problem is though that all husbands promise things to our wives but rarely do we realize what we are promising. It's because we don't listen. Sure, there is fine print to every promise but when a set are boobs are in your face you never read it. You are to distracted. Now does that seem fair to you at all? I would say that I was taken advantage of. I'm just a poor consumer that didn't realize what an APR was, all I saw was a set of ta-tas so I signed on the dotted line. In fact, that sounds a little criminal to me.

And the chips are just sitting there, calling to me. They are saying "Hossman, wouldn't we go just fantastic with that hot dog you are cooking for lunch?" Yes Mr. Chips. Yes you would.

So the real question remains, do I accept the consequences for eating all the of the good potato chips. What would those consequences be? Me sleeping on the couch. That could happen. Our whole marriage is now revolving around a bag of potato chips, the sweet morsels that they are.

I could blame it on the kids. For those that read my blog, would it come as a real surprise to anyone if I blamed my daughter. Does this not seem like something she would do? I could say that she got a chair out, climbed on the counter, scaled the refrigerator and ate all the chips. And by the time I figured it out, all the chips were gone. We'll just chalk it up to bad parenting. Hossmom would be disappointed, surely blame me, but not as much if she knew I ate the chips all by myself while fending the greedy little kids off with my feet. Then she would be really pissed.

And how could I blame my daughter? Easy. It's the main reason that I became a parent. Besides, yesterday she tied her brother up to the stairs and I'm pretty sure was looking around for some matches. I covered for her. She sure as shit owes me. Maybe I should call in that favor now. It's either this now or wait until she's 16 and making her come get me at a bar because I'm to hammered to drive. I'm guessing she would rather do this.

But to do this, wouldn't I then be admitting that I am terrified of my wife's wrath? Of course I am. I am because I am not stupid. I am a reasonably intelligent man and I fear the wrath of my wife. I see no shame in that at all. I'm just saying I would rather not get the cold shoulder for a full 24 hours over a bag of chips.

So that's the dilemma. Quite a pickle isn't it. Perhaps a pickle surrounded by chips. And a sandwich to go with it. And a nice coke or ice gold glass of milk. Wish me luck, this may be the last blog that I ever post.


My Kung Fu

She's a sneaky little son of a bitch, that's for sure. She thinks that I am not paying attention. She thinks that I am asleep on the couch or watching mindless TV. She thinks that she has free reign to do whatever she wants to in this house. She thinks that she can get to the cupcakes.

She's quiet, more quiet than I would give her credit for. It strikes me as very telling that when she is playing she is as loud as a howler monkey fighting a chimpanzee, the chimp being her little brother of course. But when she knows that she is doing something that I wouldn't let her do, that I would prevent her from doing, she turns into a god damn ninja.

She doesn't know that I am actually watching her. Dad is wiser than you think, little padowan. I've raised you from the day you came home. I know what goes on in that little 4 year old mind of yours. And I knew that as soon as I put away the cupcakes that little gerbil in the wheel in her head began plotting. "I can get them" she thought. "They can be all mine." "I won't have to share any with my brother." I would find her 2 hours latter surrounded by cupcake wrappers with a shit eating grin on her face. She would get in trouble, she knows this, but she has weighed her options and has considered the punishment she will surely face is worth packing down 10 cupcakes on her own. It does not surprise me the level of her logic when it comes to getting what she wants. She is truly the Kung Fu Panda.

I know what motivates her. And I knew that the moment I put them away, her whole life's mission would be to climb on top of the counter and gorge herself until she was pooping little muffin tops. Does my daughter not know me at all? Does she not see that I have her number? She protested that I didn't put any icing on the cupcakes. This is because I knew for a fact that if I did, she would lick it all off and then throw the remainder at her brother's head or feed it to the dog. I know you kiddo, keep that in mind. It should not surprise you that as soon as I sat down on the couch I always watched you, even when you think I wasn't. This isn't my first merry go round. When she colored on the walls with a marker (she put it in her diaper so that I wouldn't find it) I learned my lesson. So know I am watching my daughter tip toe, yes tip toe, to the kitchen table. Where did she learn to tip toe? Maybe it's just instinct and my daughter has a strong instinct for causing havoc and destruction.

I watched her get to the kitchen chairs and pull her favorite one out, the one that she always uses to climb on top of the counter with. Sometimes its for cupcakes, sometimes it's for a pacifier that I have hidden. I watched her take the chair and push it towards the microwave that sits above the oven. The chairs have felt on the bottom so it makes no sound as it slides. Man is she quiet. I wish she could be more like this for other things. But nope, she is only this quiet when she is about to break shit.

She pushes the chair up to where the microwave is. From the corner of my eye I can see her poke her little head out and look at me. No worries here kiddo, Dad is just watching some TV. Nope, I'm not paying attention at all. She smiles and begins to get on top of the chair. So close, she is so close to the cupcakes. The sweet cake goodness of at least 12 little morsels that will be hers. All hers and none for her own brother. He doesn't need anymore sugar anyway.

It's funny to watch her balance on the chair while not making any noise. She reaches her hands up to pull on the microwave. She has to use both hands on the microwave, especially if she wants to be quiet. She could do it with one hand but she would have to jerk it open hard and that would make noise. But with two hands she can take it nice and easy. I think she might have a future as a safe cracker.

She pulls.

The door comes open.

She looks inside.

It takes her a minute to realize that there are no cupcakes hidden in the microwave. You can tell the moment she understands it because her shoulders sink. She doesn't know what to do now. There is no reward to justify this risk. Her plan has exploded and it leaves her with a minute of indecision.

She turns to look at me and sees me watching her full on. She smiles. I smile. A game will played, young Little Hoss. Well played indeed. We both nod to a worthy adversary.

But today my little sweet heart, today my Kung Fu is better than your Kung Fu.


The 500th Post. Kiss me.

Let's look at the number 500. What does it mean to you? Let's see.

500 is more income that I, a SAHD, make in a year. That's messed up. The 500th fact of Chuck Norris (as confirmed by google) is that Chuck Norris can eat just one Lays Chip. Maybe you are a racing fan and the number 500 brings to mine two very special races. 500 is the number of hairs left on my head, if I'm lucky. 500 is an area code for "Personal Communications Services." I don't know what that means.

But 500 is also the number of posts, including this one, that I have written. Today, for your enjoyment, I have picked some of my favorites over the past 3 years. Some you have probably read, some you might have missed. Some I like just because I think they are weird (Hoss I am) and some I still think are funny as all crap (Star Trek Support Group.) Some seem to really take me back to where we were in our lives and I think that I like those the best. And some are just my two kids wrecking shit.

It's hard going through 500 posts that I have written and picking favorites. It was a hard choice because I actually like a lot more than I have linked down below. But I can't very well go back and read everything in one night. However, I encourage you, my readers, to post in the comments some of your favorite ones as well. Let's share the wealth.

Flat Tire. The one that started it all. This started as an email and I was encouraged by my wife to start writing. Thanks honey!

Hoss I am
. I don't even know how to explain this one.

Team Beer. An oldie but a goodie and at least one of the Team Beer blogs had to make it.

Star Trek Mondays. The day Little Hoss became a Trekkie. She'll deny it later.

My Mancard. Another one that I don't even know how to explain.

I've Got a Secret to Tell.
Not a single blog that I have ever written has been more true.

Her First Day Home.
This is why I have always felt that the decision to be a stay at home dad was a good move for my family. And Little Hoss wrecks havoc.

At the Mother In Laws. One of my favorite jokes but it got me in SO much trouble. I still say it was worth it.

Ode to Grecian Led. I just think this rhyming post is funny. It's based off a true guy that I know.

Controller. Bubba Hoss finally catching up to Little Hoss in the destruction department.

The Price of Adult Conversation. Destruction on a level that I didn't think was possible.

Star Trek Support Club. One of my all time favorites. I remember laughing my ass of when I was actually writing this.

Bar Song Night Night. I think this one is sweet.

Appropriate for Work Blog. Because sometimes you just have to say Fuck You. Also, people really got into this one.

Rocky II vs. Thomas the Train. A special moment between father and son.

A Little Boy and His Trains. The most fun I have ever had writing a blog post.

Cabin Fever

I think the stuffed animals are talking to me. They sit and stare, sit and stare, sit and stare while my mind crumbles. They mock me, they taunt me. In their stare I can hear their words almost as if they are screamed into my bleeding ears. "It's still cold outside." "You are trapped in the house, with us, forever." Their laughter pushes me further into cabin fever insanity.

On the outside, the place where I can't go anymore, snow is still on the ground. Not white and fluffy but the black of asphalt and crushed dreams. The whole of winter presses upon me as I count the icicles still hanging on the tree branches like little daggers. On the bad days I have considered tempting fate and walking underneath them with a Red Rider BB gun. But if I did that, who would the stuffed animals talk to?

The house has 4 walls and a ceiling in every room. Seems common sense but over the course of this very long winter I have counted them many times just to make sure. 1,2,3,4. 1,2,3,4. 1,2,3,4. I have noticed cobwebs in the higher corners of the ceiling but have not even attempted to bring them down for then the corner would be bare and I would not have anything to stare at anymore.

The kids paint daily. It's the only thing that I have left. We have done every arts and craft activity known to man. Now their little portraits of family members seem to get worse and worse with all the practice. Once we painted in bright colors; blue, red, yellow. That was at the beginning of winter. Now all the paintings look like black and white photographs that mirror our moods. I know that I am cracking up. They have already cracked. Yesterday we had a dust mite race through the hallway. I lost.

I stare at the TV, not really knowing what is on. It doesn't matter, we've seen it all. By now I can quote every line of every Dora episode. I can sing every song in Jack's Big Music Show. I know that Steve, with his dog Blue, can do anything that they want to do. We have watched every movie. We have single handily kept Red Box in business. I have seen every kids movie/kids show that they have to offer. Now my mouth forms the words of each line of each show without my knowledge. This is the low point of our winter. I just want to go outside. I just want to go outside.

Why did I leave Texas? I can't remember anymore. I can't remember anything anymore. What's my wife's name? Does she have a name and is she really my wife? Am I the gimp? Texas is in the 50's and 60's by now. The tree's are starting to get leaves again, if they ever lost them in the first place. Somewhere, a longhorn is in a field on the Texas plains. I am in the house. I am always in the house.

We have made homemade cookies. We have made cakes. We have made donuts. We have even made a coconut cream pie from scratch. There is nothing left to make. Dinners are now boxes of cereal with little funny cartoon characters on them. They are joyous and part of this nutritious breakfast. They do not cheer me up. I want to shoot the rabbit and step on the little bird with the big beak. And so help me god if I find a leprechaun with all his marshmallow stars, I will rip that little smug smile off his face and ask him what he's so god damn chipper about.

The walls are decorated with all our artwork over the last 6 months in an attempt to bring light and joy into the house. It's either really bad caveman paintings or really good abstract art. The windows are covered with hand prints and little smudges of noses where we have looked out over the last 6 months wondering if it's going to get above freezing. It never does. We should clean the windows but what's the point if the sun never shines? It left us sometime in December and only makes the occasional cameo appearance. Fucking snob.

We spend most days in our underwear. We started out good with jeans and T-shirts. Sometimes a sweatshirt and some wool socks. But after awhile, we asked ourselves why? Who the hell cares? Who's going to see us. We devolved, slowly at first then full on. The day I realized that I was wearing only long underwear did I realize how far we had really fallen. I looked at myself and realized that I looked like some crazy prospector panning for gold and wished it was some delusion, that perhaps I had lost it and entered the sweet world of oblivion. But it wasn't a delusion. It was reality and I was in it up to my button hole in the back.

I read the book of Revaluations to cheer me up. Steven King seems like a happy trollop to me. I root against Harry Potter and am in love with Delores Umbridge. I disgust myself.

I hear the word "Daddy" said. Less now than when the winter started. "Daddy, Bubba Hoss hit me." "Daddy, the dog pooped on the floor." "Daddy, put down the bottle". Now we all just try to ignore each other until spring comes. To when we can go back out into the world and adventure. Parks, museums, civil war battlefields, zoos; each an adventure into the unknown. Will the kids finger smudge a priceless painting? Will I break a chair in an historic mansion? Who will get arrested first, Little Hoss or Me? The world's biggest ball of twine is out there and calling my name.

Those are the things that keep our hope alive. Those are the things that make us leave the hand and face smudges on the windows. Just a little bit longer. Just hold on a little while longer.

But it's a long winter. And it's still so cold outside. It's still so cold.


Hoss Weekend

Sir Edmund Hillary did not climb Mt. Everest "because it was there". No, that is a common misconception. He climbed it because he needed time away with some dudes. Maybe he had some kids back home, ages 2 and 4, that kept stomping on his balls. Maybe he couldn't take anymore Project Runway and long conversations with his wife about their financial future. . Maybe he thought that if he climbed up to where the air was thin, he could understand the plot of LOST. I don't really know. But I do know is that he went to some dudes and said "Let's play dress up and do something manly." So they did.

It is in that vain that I ventured to the 3rd annual Hoss weekend that was being held 10 hours away. And I was able to talk Papa Scrum into coming with me. He makes one hell of a car companion. Good on the conversation and low on the bodily functions.

But there is a theme for man weekend. It's not just show up and talk about sports and women. That would be boring and very not funny and it turns out we are a very funny bunch. Previous themes of Hoss Weekend have included the Dirty Stach and the Handlebar Stach (click here for last years post). What else is there to do? The Amish. That's right, Amish. Because if you have never wanted to wear an Amish beard, then you are just letting life pass you by and I pity you.

For three long months I grew my beard out. Day in and day out, it grew. I charted my success by my wife's comments. First it was "that's cute." Which lead to "you are getting poofy." Evolving to "there's a dead squirrel hanging around your face." And finally ended up "I can see actual dirt in your beard. Don't touch me." It was time to shave into the Amish.

14 of us showed up near a lake in small town Texas. It was a 10 hour trip for Papa Scrum and I. There may have been some heavy petting involved, it was a long car trip. But we made it.

We were a diverse bunch. In fact, we were the melting pot of America. We had a Philippine guy, a gay dude, and a short man. If I ever do get a TV show, that's going to be the name of it. Short Gay Philly. Fantastic. Now it was made very clear that we all had to grow beard to prove our manhood and then cut them into the Amish theme. However, some men, and I won't name names, can't grow a beard if you dipped them in human growth hormone. So they had to wear fake beards. We take our funny very seriously.

I'm sure by now you are assuming the worst when thinking of 14 guys alone by the lake. I'm sure that you are thinking we would talk about women and fart alot. Those parts are true. But we are more than just that. We also talked about sports. And although I cannot recount all the conversations that we had, I will tell you that the terms "winking butthole" and "I like white cock" were thrown in there.

But the big event of Hoss Weekend is the group picture. That's right, we actually go out in public. Otherwise, whats the point of all the dress up. We take a group photo at Walmart because you know, where else can you be a little WT? For some reason, we feel that making a public spectacle of ourselves is in order for a complete man weekend experience.

So Papa Scrum and I put on our Amish garb and the rest of the group ventured out into public. Papa Scrum I think went fancy Amish while I was sporting what I call country Awesome Amish. Red Suspenders complete with a straw hat that I let Little Hoss bedazzle. I don't know of any law that says that the Amish can't be fabulous, Johnny Weir style.

It's interesting the looks we get when we get out. The fake beards, the bedazzled hats and the suspenders tend to draw a lot of looks. But we took the group photo and believe me, it's awesome. Some people tend to give us a good 15 feet radius, never trying to make eye contact. Some people just flat out stare, and some actually talked to us. A couple actually believed we were real Amish and asked us what a barn raising actually was (we confessed that we weren't devout Amish, only weekenders.)

Following the picture we go out to eat at a restaurant because our weekend isn't really complete unless we either freak out a waitress or terrorize some poor family out for Saturday brunch.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, we drink. A lot. This is also the part of the year that we realize that we are getting older and older and perhaps cannot hang as well as when we were 21. Sure, we still may be awesome at Beer Pong and a little group game called Flip Cup, but it turns out the "bounce back" factor is greatly reduced once you are married and have children. We lost 2 members who claimed "stomach virus" and we let that slide until we could make fun of them out of ear shot. Pretty soon we are sure that Man Weekend will turn into Man Brunch followed by a three day nap.

The weekend ended with a healthy dose of Advil and water as Papa Scrum and I got back into our car for the return trip home. 10 hours hung over is not as fun as you would think it would be in car.

I got home to my loving wife and our two children. It appears that while I was away, my kitchen was rearranged, my daughter got a makeover, and I was looking at a new 400 dollar bed redecoration that I'm pretty sure we never talked about. I went to my calendar and marked the last weekend of February for 2011. Maybe we should do this twice a year.



This is an Olympic house. If you walk through that front door, you need to know that. You need to know that everything shuts down for the glory of America. You need to know that we will not be having elaborate dinners. We will be having grill cheese and patriotism. You need to know that communication is restricted to what medals the Americans have a chance at winning. Do not expect any chores to get done unless that chore involves a thing called a Downhill and someone named Vonn is supposed to meet me there.

Do not call and expect a conversation. Do not write a letter expecting it to be opened. Do not send an urgent reply email. You will be ignored. And you will be shamed.

"Why haven't you blogged" I am asked. I judge you. I judge all of you. "Why haven't you watched curling" I reply. I did. Alot. Because I watch everything Olympics. I am an American. You live off my dedication, be thankful for it. I don't know what that last line means but I know that I like it because I was talking about the Olympics and I like everything about the Olympics. Even curling, especially curling. But it's not a sport? What? Debate it some other time. The fact remains that that burly Wisconsin man is an Olympic athlete and even though I'm sure he can out keg stand me, he still deserves my devotion.

USA vs. China. USA vs. Austria. USA vs Russia. USA vs. the World.

This house is filled with those chants. I have taught my two minions. Hossmom leaves the house every morning to chants of USA, USA, USA. Our 150 hour Tivo is filled with all the great moments, all the great races, all the great Olympics. "Get away from our rock, Russia" Little Hoss screams as the curling team takes on the Red Devil. "Go! Go! Go!" Bubba Hoss will yell at the bobsled team. At ages 2 and 4 they don't really understand what they are watching, but this is just minion training for the future. Let me ask you, do you understand the Nordic combined either? Ski jumping and a cross country race makes no sense to combine into one competition. But that does not matter. What matters is that America has a competitor in that race, so we will watch it. And when we watch it we will watch it like its the god damn moon landing.

Little Hoss got to stay up late for the opening ceremonies. We take this very seriously. We would have missed LOST if required. We have a dual turner Tivo so thank god that didn't happen, but that is the kind of sacrifice we are prepared to make as good Americans. We made an American Olympic cake. And even though it turned out like some swamp thing monstrosity, it did not matter because the colors were spot on: Red White and Blue.

So for two weeks, the minions and I watched and cheered. We were there when Miller showed up as a more mature skier and redeemed himself. We were there when Korea couldn't take the pressure and handed Ono a record setting medal. We were there 3 hours after the beginning of the 15K cross country ski. We were there when America put aside all it's differences and cheered in something called Ice Dancing.

And we were there when the losses came as well. This is a competition and that means that we have to take the good as well as the bad. When the Men's and Women's Hockey team lost to our brother's to the north, we wept. When our curling teams continued to lay a big goose egg, we still gave them our voice and a pat on the back. Win or lose, we love them all and are loyal to the end.

And our loyalty was rewarded with 37 medals this winter, far in the lead of all other countries proving that once again that if we eat our Wheaties in the morning we will shit immortality by dinner time. Sure, we didn't get the most gold but the CIA is working on that and we expect a better showing in 4 years.

Meanwhile, we wait patiently for another 2 years for the summer Olympics. We need to kick some Asian ass in Badminton. Impossible you say? Inevitable I reply.